elision (n.) Look up elision at Dictionary.com
1580s, from Latin elisionem (nominative elisio) "a striking out, a pressing out," in grammar, "the suppression of a vowel," noun of action from past participle stem of elidere (see elide).
elite (n.) Look up elite at Dictionary.com
"a choice or select body, the best part," 1823, from French élite "selection, choice," from Old French eslite (12c.), fem. past participle of elire, elisre "pick out, choose," from Latin eligere "choose" (see election). Borrowed in Middle English as "chosen person" (late 14c.), especially a bishop-elect; died out mid-15c.; re-introduced by Byron's "Don Juan." As an adjective by 1852. As a typeface, first recorded 1920.
elitism (n.) Look up elitism at Dictionary.com
1951; see elite + -ism.
elitist (adj.) Look up elitist at Dictionary.com
1950; see elite + -ist. The original adjectival examples were Freud, Nietzsche, and Carlyle. As a noun by 1961.
elixir (n.) Look up elixir at Dictionary.com
mid-13c., from Medieval Latin elixir "philosopher's stone," believed by alchemists to transmute baser metals into gold and/or to cure diseases and prolong life, from Arabic al-iksir "the philosopher's stone," probably from late Greek xerion "powder for drying wounds," from xeros "dry" (see xerasia). Later in medical use for "a tincture with more than one base." General sense of "strong tonic" is 1590s; used for quack medicines from at least 1630s.
Elizabeth Look up Elizabeth at Dictionary.com
fem. proper name, Biblical name of the wife of Aaron, from Late Latin Elisabeth, from Greek Eleisabeth, Eleisabet, from Hebrew Elishebha "God is an oath," the second element said by Klein to be related to shivah (fem. sheva) "seven," and to nishba "he swore," originally "he bound himself by (the sacred number) seven." Has never ranked lower than 26th in popularity among the names given to baby girls in the U.S. in any year since 1880, the oldest for which a reliable list is available. The city in New Jersey is named for Lady Elizabeth Carteret (d.1697), wife of one of the first proprietors of the colony.
Elizabethan (adj.) Look up Elizabethan at Dictionary.com
"belonging to the period of Queen Elizabeth I" (1558-1603) of England, 1807 (Elizabethean); Coleridge (1817) has Elizabethian, and Carlyle (1840) finally attains the modern form. The noun is first attested 1859.
John Knox, one of the exiles for religion in Switzerland, publiſhed his "Firſt Blaſt of the Trumpet againſt the Government of Women," in this reign [of Elizabeth]. It was lucky for him that he was out of the queen's reach when he ſounded the trumpet. [The Rev. Mr. James Granger, "A Biographical History of England," 1769]
elk (n.) Look up elk at Dictionary.com
late Old English elch, from Old Norse elgr or from an alteration of Old English elh, eolh (perhaps via French scribes), or possibly from Middle High German elch (OED's suggestion), all from Proto-Germanic *elkh- (source also of Old High German elaho). The modern word "is not the normal phonetic representative" of the Old English one [OED].

The Germanic words are related to the general word for "deer" in Balto-Slavic (such as Russian losu, Czech los; also see eland), from PIE *olki-, perhaps with reference to the reddish color from root *el- (2) "red, brown" (in animal and tree names); compare Sanskrit harina- "deer," from hari- "reddish-brown." Greek alke and Latin alces probably are Germanic loan-words. Applied to similar-looking but unrelated animals in North America. Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks founded N.Y.C. 1868, originally a society of actors and writers.
ell (n.1) Look up ell at Dictionary.com
unit of measure, Old English eln, originally "forearm, length of the arm" (as a measure, anywhere from a foot and a half to two feet), from PIE *el- (1) "elbow, forearm" (cognates: Greek olene "elbow," Latin ulna, Armenian uln "shoulder," Sanskrit anih "part of the leg above the knee," Lithuanian alkune "elbow").

The exact distance varied, in part depending on whose arm was used as the base and whether it was measured from the shoulder to the fingertip or the wrist: the Scottish ell was 37.2 inches, the Flemish 27 inches. Latin ulna also was a unit of linear measure, and compare cubit. The modern English unit of 45 inches seems to have been set in Tudor times.
Whereas shee tooke an inche of liberty before, tooke an ell afterwardes [Humfrey Gifford, "A Posie of Gilloflowers," 1580].
ell (n.2) Look up ell at Dictionary.com
name of the letter -L- in Latin; in reference to a type of building, 1773, American English; so called for resemblance to the shape of the alphabet letter.
Ella Look up Ella at Dictionary.com
fem. proper name, when not a diminutive of Eleanor it is from Old High German Alia, from al "all."
Ellen Look up Ellen at Dictionary.com
fem. proper name, an older form of Helen (q.v.). Its popularity among U.S. birth names peaked in 1880s and 1940s.
ellipse (n.) Look up ellipse at Dictionary.com
1753, from French ellipse (17c.), from Latin ellipsis "ellipse," also, "a falling short, deficit," from Greek elleipsis (see ellipsis). So called because the conic section of the cutting plane makes a smaller angle with the base than does the side of the cone, hence, a "falling short." The Greek word was first applied by Apollonius of Perga (3c. B.C.E.). to the curve which previously had been called the section of the acute-angled cone, but the word earlier had been technically applied to a rectangle one of whose sides coincides with a part of a given line (Euclid, VI. 27).
ellipsis (n.) Look up ellipsis at Dictionary.com
1560s, "an ellipse," from Latin ellipsis, from Greek elleipsis "a falling short, defect, ellipse in grammar," noun of action from elleipein "to fall short, leave out," from en- "in" (see en- (1)) + leipein "to leave" (see relinquish). Grammatical sense in English first recorded 1610s. Related: Elipticity.
ellipsoid (n.) Look up ellipsoid at Dictionary.com
1721; see ellipse + -oid. From 1861 as an adjective (earlier adjective was ellipsoidal, 1831).
elliptic (adj.) Look up elliptic at Dictionary.com
1726, from Greek elleiptikos "pertaining to an ellipse," from elleipein (see ellipsis). Mostly in technical use; the common word is elliptical.
elliptical (adj.) Look up elliptical at Dictionary.com
1650s, "elliptic in shape;" see elliptic + -al (1). Grammatical sense of "missing essential words or phrases" is recorded from 1778 (see ellipsis). Related: Elliptically.
Ellis Island Look up Ellis Island at Dictionary.com
sandy island in mouth of Hudson River, said to have been called "Gull Island" by local Indians and "Oyster Island" by the Dutch, renamed "Gull Island" after the British took over, then "Gibbet Island" because pirates were hanged there. Sold to Samuel Ellis in 1785, who made it a picnic spot and gave it his name. Sold by his heirs in 1808 to New York State and acquired that year by the U.S. War Department for coastal defenses. Vacant after the American Civil War until the government opened an immigration station there in 1892 to replace Castle Island.
elm (n.) Look up elm at Dictionary.com
Old English elm, from Proto-Germanic *elmaz (cognates: Danish elm, Old Norse almr, Old High German elme), perhaps from PIE root *el- (2) "red, brown" (see elk); cognate with Latin ulmus, Old Irish lem. German Ulme, Dutch olm are from or influenced by the Latin word. The toughest native European wood, used for ship-building, wheel-naves, etc. Middle English had adjective forms elmen, elmin, which survived longer in poetry.
Elmo Look up Elmo at Dictionary.com
of St. Elmo's Fire (for which see saint (n.)); probably from Greek elene "torch," via an apocryphal saint (Bishop of Formiae in Italy, who died c.304 and was invoked in the Mediterranean by sailors during storms).
elocution (n.) Look up elocution at Dictionary.com
mid-15c., from Late Latin elocutionem (nominative elocutio) "voice production, a speaking out, utterance, manner of expression," in classical Latin especially "rhetorical utterance, oratorical expression," noun of action from past participle stem of eloqui "speak out" (see eloquence). Related: Elocutionary; elocutionist.
Elohim Look up Elohim at Dictionary.com
a name of God in the Bible, c.1600, from Hebrew, plural (of majesty?) of Eloh "God" (cognate with Allah), a word of unknown etymology, perhaps an augmentation of El "God," also of unknown origin. Generally taken as singular, the use of this word instead of Yahveh is taken by biblical scholars as an important clue to authorship in the Old Testament, hence Elohist (1862; Elohistic is from 1841), title of the supposed writer of passages of the Pentateuch where the word is used.
eloign (v.) Look up eloign at Dictionary.com
1530s, intransitive, "to remove to a distance" (especially in an effort to avoid the law), from Anglo-French eloign, Old French esloigner (Modern French éloigner), from Late Latin exlongare "remove, keep aloof, prolong, etc." (see elongation). Transitive use from 1550s. Related: Eloignment.
elongate (v.) Look up elongate at Dictionary.com
"to make long or longer," 1530s, from Late Latin elongatus, past participle of elongare "to prolong, protract" (see elongation). Earlier in the same sense was elongen (mid-15c.). Related: Elongated; elongating.
elongation (n.) Look up elongation at Dictionary.com
late 14c., from Medieval Latin elongationem (nominative elongatio), noun of action from past participle stem of Late Latin elongare "remove to a distance," from Latin ex- "out" (see ex-) + longus "long" (see long (adj.)).
elope (v.) Look up elope at Dictionary.com
1590s, "to run off," probably from Middle Dutch (ont)lopen "run away," from ont- "away from" (from Proto-Germanic *und- which also gave the first element in until) + lopen "to run," from Proto-Germanic *hlaupan (source also of Old English hleapan; see leap (v.)). Sense of "run away in defiance of parental authority to marry secretly" is 19c.

In support of this OED compares Old English uðleapan, "the technical word for the 'escaping' of a thief." However there is an Anglo-French aloper "run away from a husband with one's lover" (mid-14c.) which complicates this etymology; perhaps it is a modification of the Middle Dutch word, with Old French es-, or it is a compound of that and Middle English lepen "run, leap" (see leap (v.)).

The oldest Germanic word for "wedding" is represented by Old English brydlop (cognates: Old High German bruthlauft, Old Norse bruðhlaup), literally "bride run," the conducting of the woman to her new home. Related: Eloped; eloping.
elopement (n.) Look up elopement at Dictionary.com
1540s, from elope + -ment. (The word was in Anglo-French in 14c. as alopement).
eloquence (n.) Look up eloquence at Dictionary.com
late 14c., from Old French eloquence (12c.), from Latin eloquentia, from eloquentem (nominative eloquens) "eloquent," present participle of eloqui "speak out," from ex- "out" (see ex-) + loqui "to speak" (see locution). Earlier in same sense was eloquency (mid-14c.).
eloquent (adj.) Look up eloquent at Dictionary.com
late 14c., from Old French eloquent, from Latin eloquentem (nominative eloquens) "speaking, having the faculty of speech; eloquent," present participle of eloqui "to speak out" (see eloquence). Related: Eloquently.
Elsa Look up Elsa at Dictionary.com
fem. proper name, from German diminutive of Elisabet (see Elizabeth).
else (adv.) Look up else at Dictionary.com
Old English elles "in another manner, other, otherwise, besides, different," from Proto-Germanic *aljaz (cognates: Gothic aljis "other," Old High German eli-lenti, Old English el-lende, both meaning "in a foreign land;" see also Alsace), an adverbial genitive of the neuter of PIE root *al- (1) "beyond" (cognates: Greek allos "other," Latin alius; see alias (adv.)). As a quasi-adjective, synonymous with other, from 1660s; the nuances of usage are often arbitrary.

Productive of a number of handy compounds that somehow never got traction or have been suffered to fall from use: elsehow (1660s) "somehow or other;" elsewards (adv.), 1882, "somewhere else;" Old English elsewhat (pron.) " something else, anything else;" elsewhen (adv.), early 15c., "at another time; elsewhence (c.1600); elsewho (1540s). Among the survivors are elsewhere, elsewise. Menacing or else, with omitted but implied threat, is from 1833.
Elsevier (n.) Look up Elsevier at Dictionary.com
early 18c., Elzevir (via French Elzévir), from Dutch Elsevier, the name of a family of Dutch printers famed for the accuracy and elegance of their work; especially in reference to editions of the classics and other works published by them c.1580-1680.
elsewhere (n.) Look up elsewhere at Dictionary.com
"in another place, in other places," c.1400, elswher, from Old English elles hwær (see else + where). Related: Elsewhither (Old English elleshwider.
elsewise (adv.) Look up elsewise at Dictionary.com
"in a different manner, otherwise," 1540s, from else + -wise.
elucidate (v.) Look up elucidate at Dictionary.com
1560s, perhaps via Middle French élucider (15c.) or directly from Late Latin elucidatus, past participle of elucidare "make light or clear," from assimilated form of ex- "out, away" (see ex-) + lucidus "clear" (see lucid). Related: Elucidated; elucidates; elucidating.
elucidation (n.) Look up elucidation at Dictionary.com
1560s, "act of making intelligible," noun of action from elucidate. As "an explanation" from 1660s.
elude (v.) Look up elude at Dictionary.com
1530s, "delude, make a fool of," from Latin eludere "finish play, win at play; escape from or parry (a blow), make a fool of, mock, frustrate; win from at play," from assimilated form of ex- "out, away" (see ex-) + ludere "to play" (see ludicrous). Sense of "evade" is first recorded 1610s in a figurative sense, 1630s in a literal one. Related: Eluded; eludes; eluding.
elusion (n.) Look up elusion at Dictionary.com
"deception, escape by artifice or deceit," 1540s, noun of action from elude, or from Medieval Latin elusionem (nominative elusio), noun of action from past participle stem of Latin eludere.
elusive (adj.) Look up elusive at Dictionary.com
1719, from Latin elus-, past participle stem of eludere "elude, frustrate" (see elude) + -ive. Related: Elusiveness.
elution (n.) Look up elution at Dictionary.com
"washing, purification," 1610s, from Late Latin elutionem (nominative elutio) "a washing out," noun of action from past participle stem of Latin eluere "to wash out, wash off, clean," from ex- "out" (see ex-) + luere "to wash" (see lave). Especially in reference to a process of obtaining sugar from molasses.
elven (adj.) Look up elven at Dictionary.com
Old English -ælfen (n.) "an elf or fairy," usually a female one (see elf). Not a pure adjective in Middle English (elvish was used), but used in phrases such as elven land (c.1300). Apparently revived as an adjective by Tolkien (1937).
elver (n.) Look up elver at Dictionary.com
"young eel," 1640s, variant or corruption of eelfare (1530s), literally "passage of young eels up a river;" see eel + fare (n.).
Elvira Look up Elvira at Dictionary.com
fem. proper name, from Spanish, of Germanic origin.
elvish (adj.) Look up elvish at Dictionary.com
c.1200, aluisc, "belonging to or pertaining to the elves; supernatural," from elf + -ish. Old English used ilfig in this sense.
Elysian (adj.) Look up Elysian at Dictionary.com
1570s, "pertaining to Elysium (q.v.), the abode of the blessed after death." Hence, "exquisitely happy, full of the highest bliss."
Elysium (n.) Look up Elysium at Dictionary.com
1590s, from Latin Elysium, from Greek Elysion (pedion) "Elysian field," abode of the blessed after death, where heroes and the virtuous dwell, of unknown origin, perhaps from a pre-Greek language. Also used figuratively of a situation of complete happiness.
elytra (n.) Look up elytra at Dictionary.com
1774, plural of elytron "hardened wing of an insect," from Greek elytron "sheath," from elyein "to roll round," from PIE root *wel- (3) "to turn, roll," with derivatives referring to curved, enclosing objects (see volvox). Related: Elytroid.
elytro- Look up elytro- at Dictionary.com
word-forming element used for "vagina" in medical terms, from Greek elytron, literally "sheath" (see elytra). Related: Elytral.
em (n.) Look up em at Dictionary.com
name of the letter M, c.1200, from Latin; the Greek name was mu. In printing, originally the square corresponding in dimensions to the capital M of that type.
em- (1) Look up em- at Dictionary.com
word-forming element meaning "put in or into, bring to a certain state," sometimes intensive, from French assimilation of en- "in, into" (see en- (1)) to following labial stop (-b-, -p-, and often -m-), or from the same development in later Latin in- (to im-). "This rule was not fully established in spelling before the 17th c." [OED], but it is likely the pronunciation shift was in Old French and Middle English and spelling was slow to conform. Also a living prefix in English used to form verbs from adjectives and nouns (embitter, embody).